Florida Snorkeling

Old Apr 19th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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Florida Snorkeling

We are planning a trip to Florida this summer, I have read a lot of great suggestions on this forum, but have a question that I haven't seen. The main reason we are going, besides the beach, is to snorkel. On trips in other places I have been disappointed by poor water conditions, and I know there is not a definite answer, but is there a way to plan for water conditions? Are they affected by tides/moon phase at all or is it just weather conditions? We can go -Key Largo at least- either at the beginning of our trip or at the end for a few days. We will be traveling the last week of June-the 2nd week of July. Thank you for any words of wisdom!
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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It is most helpful to call ahead to a dive shop near where you will be snorkeling and they will tell you the conditions over the next few days.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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That is what I thought. . .do you know in general if the time of year is likely to be good snorkeling in the keys? When visiting other islands in the Caribbean the weather can be beautiful, but the water too rough for clear viewing, are the reefs in the keys similar, or are they protected somehow?
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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Summer is a great time to snorkel since it's warmer and you can stay in the water longer. Our trips have always been between June and August. It can be hit or miss with visability. We've been to the Keys several times and also go boating almost weekly at home (central gulf coast) and are sometimes surprised by the conditions - days when we thought the water would be clear we had murky conditions and breezy days with clear water! Your best bet, if possible, is to be flexible and spontaneous. When we head for the Keys we usually set aside a few days for snorkeling/diving, check the weather (and dive shops) daily and often end up planning our day trips the night before. Our last diving (a few years ago) in Key Largo at John Pennekamp was extremely murky but that doesn't mean it will be the same for you. Can you head farther south? One of our favorites is Sombrero Reef off Marathon. We've done it through a dive shop and also on our own boat. Both times the water was a bit rough but the visibility was great. At least you're going before hurricane season is in full swing!
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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Thank you for the info- I will check out Sombrero Reef. I had not heard of it. I guess I will have to find a way to make our trip flexible. I think that will be the only way for good conditions.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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If you can go even farther south, Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary off of Big Pine Key is a great place for snorkeling.

http://www.floridakeys.com/lowerkeys/looekey.htm
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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Thank you, can drive where ever- I'm famous for dragging us all over the place to see as much as we can when we are traveling! I hate to miss anything when we are already so close. Would you choose Looe Key over John P.?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 07:19 PM
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My vote would be for Looe Key
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Thanks for your input! I am penciling out an itenerary that will somehow be flexible so that we aren't driving all that way for nothing. I usually have everything mapped out by Feb. and I can't believe I don't have a single resv. yet- summer is almost here! I will be checking Florida posts until I get everything figured out so please respond if you are just finding this thread and you have more info. I am trying to find a good place to stay on Marathon or Largo for a family of 5, I can't believe there could be so many on such small islands. Thanks again...
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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When we went out of Key Largo-the water was very rough and murky. My only words of wisdom-use snorkel sticks if they have them. I have done a lot of snorkeling...never ever heard of these until we got to Florida. They look like a giant Q-tip-Foam pads on the ends of a big stick. It was the only way we could fight the current. Other people on our boat tried it without the sticks and were exhausted in 30 minutes. We were the oldest-and most out of shape-but we were able to enjoy the snorkeling much longer. You put the stick under your body about chest high-awkward at first-but you get used to it. Have fun!
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